Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Queer Artist Centerfold: Jamie Benson

photo by: Stacey Adams

Name: Jamie Benson

Contact info: info@jamiebenson.com

Come Find Me:
Website: http://jamiebenson.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jamiejbenson
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiejbenson
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/jamiebenson?feature=mhee
The Twitters: http://twitter.com/#!/jamiebenson

Zodiac sign:
Sun in Gemini
Leo Ascendant
Moon in Aries

Your medium/genre: Dance (for the most part)

Describe what you do:
Mash up:
1 part classic dance (ballet, jazz, ballroom, modern)
1 part barbaric forms (noise, gesture, bodily fluids)
1 part vaudevillian shtick

Result: A Sort of Bastardized Broadway Experience

My aim, hell maybe my purpose in this life, is to develop a bridge brand between different performance forms in order to affirm their merit to a massive audience.

Turn on’s:
-Insatiable Curiosity
-An Inclusive Spirit
-Lithe, Strong, Active Bodies & Minds
-A Surly Sense of Humor

Turn off’s: Snobbery, Excessive Self-Involvement

Describe your perfect date:
Comedy Club, Vegan Cuisine, Light Drinking, Heavy Sexing
OR anything surprising, unexpected. (monster trucks?)

Pet peeves:
People who only talk about themselves! Being rushed

Fave music:
Quirky Electronic, Soulful 60’s & 70’s R&B, anything you’d have an itch to sing at a piano bar.

Top movies that inspire you:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind! I love you Phillip Morris, Girl Trouble

Reading List:
Howard Gardner’s “Intelligence Reframed”
Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything”
Dave Praeger’s “Poop Culture”
Jeffrey Sachs’ “Common Wealth”
Suze Orman’s “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke”

One of your obsessions: Prosthetic Limbs

Tiny Fey, Louis C.K., Pina Bausch- any smart, successful, self-generating funny/creative type.

(1 of) Fave queer Artist(s): John Waters

Most Pivotal Performance/event/etc:
1st Performance at Highways Performance Space- I was hired for pennies by choreographers w/ legitimate backgrounds to pretend to dance as if I was water (in a very literal sense). While feeling a little silly dancing to 80's acid jazz & waving my arms around, I realized, if these hot shots are choreographing then I damn well could be too.

Places performed:
Los Angeles Theater Center (LATC) Luckman Fine-Arts Complex, Pasadena Armory, Bootleg Theater, Electric Lodge & Highways Performance Space

Dance Department, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WA (self-proclaimed “Juilliard of the West”)

What do you (does your art) stand for:
I rummage through the humor & profundity in everyday rituals & landscapes to discover ways to demystify the enigmatic, sometimes annoyingly cryptic, art form of dance.

Creating an alliance between the ethereal realm of dance & tangible, everyday experience creates an accessible forum for integration, not only for the dance community but the general public too.

Fucking Fun:
I make damn sure that my shows are fun.

(1 of) Fave performance experience / Fave prop or costume:
Portraying “The Shit” in our Satirical Ballet “Bowel Movement” (http://jamiebenson.com/repertory.html#bathroom.follies).
I deeply loved the costume that corresponded - complete w/ kernels of corn & designed by the undeniably talented Andrae Gonzalo (http://andraegonzalo.com/)
photo by: Jeannette Vidalia

For more images of the work see here (http://jamiebenson.com/photo_gallery.php#bathroom.follies.photos).

What is your Vision for the Queer Future:
When the collective unconscious gets to a point where a dude or dudette doesn’t have to experience damage to be their own queer self. When religion is no longer used as a crutch for blatant bigotry & people realize that by encouraging others to be themselves fully, they achieve “god’s” plan. When we can let the unknown be unknown so we are free to follow the trail of human decency (etc., etc.).

What are your upcoming plans/shows/events/include dates and info:
photo by: Maggie West

October 21 & 22 2011, Highways Performance Space

In Mixed Marriages (http://jamiebenson.com/repertory.html#mixed.marriages), an evening of tragic, dance comedy, Andrae Gonzalo & I will be slamming opposing attitudes, objects & concepts together from our past & present to reveal universal themes of love & loneliness.

Due to the size of the venue & my, what seems imminent move N.Y., this event WILL sell out - may be my last show in L.A. for awhile. GET TICKETS at highwaysperformance.org or RESERVE at 310-315-1459.

Note: We’re sharing the night with the remarkable Carmela Hermann & Terrence Luke Johnson & their work HOMESTRETCH. All the more reason to come!

Sample of Work:
photo by: Petra Rajnicova

Dance Reel :

Mass Transit Performance Slide Show :

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